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Conor Lamb

Unions Propel Conor Lamb to Razor Thin Victory

Union members in Western PA turned out to defeat a Right to Work supporter in the 18th Congressional District

Kris LaGrange's picture
Mar 14, 2018

After a long night of counting ballots, Conor Lamb appears to have won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District by about 600 votes. While political pundits will spend the next 24 hours arguing about what this means for Trump, in a district that he won by 20 points, and for national Republicans, the real story is about how the union movement banded together to defeat a supporter of Right to Work and elect a candidate who will fight for them in Washington.

As UCOMM previously reported, the 18th district has a large number of union members residing within the district’s lines. They worked hard to get out the vote for a candidate who is a third generation pro-union politician in Western Pennsylvania. This race was so important to some unions that United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts held came to campaign on behalf of Lamb.

 “Conor won this race because he proudly stood with unions, shared our agenda and spoke out for our members,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “He didn’t just ask for our support—he earned it by opposing unnecessary “right to work” laws, backing protections for coal miners’ pensions and supporting commonsense trade enforcement.”

After the loss, some Republicans said that it might be time for some soul-searching. Trumka agrees and issued a warning to both Democrats and Republicans who are running for office in 2018.

“Tonight’s result is a wake-up call for every single politician. Earning the support of working people is a high bar that must be cleared with meaningful words and actions—not blind deference to party operatives or corporate interests,” Trumka said. “Working people are ready to move heaven and earth to help a genuine ally. But we won’t waste a dime or a door knock on fair weather friends. If you want working people to rally around you, then you need to rally around us.”

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